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Editorial: Sanusi: A grave threat to civil liberty



He put my family in a plane, brought them to Lagos, Teary Sanusi recalls how Wigwe helped when he was dethroned

Muhammad Sanusi II, the 14th Emir of Kano was on March 9, 2020, was removed from office in circumstances many believed was political and laced with a venom of vendetta given that he was widely suspected to have worked against the political interest of Governor Ganduje in last year’s gubernatorial election.

As a private citizen, Sanusi by law has a right to freedom of political choices, but as monarch in a climate such as ours, his political choices and inclinations ought to remain in the recesses of his mind and should not have come into conscious fore, since political correctness requires him to be apolitical in political contestations, and should have been seen as the father of all.

There had been intense dramatic build-up that found denouement in Sanusi’s sack and eventual banishment to Nasarawa state. It all started in last year’s election where the Emir was alleged to have shown his hand. This led to a beef between the governor who from all indication was bent on whittling down the power and influence of Emir Sanusi in Kano.

The government had alleged that in many instances Mallam Muhammad Sanusi II has been found breaching part 3 section 13 (a-e) of the Kano State Emirate Law 2019 and which if left unchecked will destroy the good and established image of the Kano Emirate.

Balkanisation of the Kano emirate as a payback to Sanusi was calculated to belittle him and it raises the stake so high that reconciliation was impossible. Queries after queries were issued to the embattled monarch and corruption probes in addition to peremptory harassment by what looked like a rubber stamp legislature all in an attempt to humiliate the radical royal.

As a newspaper, it is our view that the governor together with his executive council had not acted with responsibility in arbitrarily removing the Emir without due processes, and it becomes a great farce when one considers the fact that the matter was treated administratively as if by law the act of removal of such a high profile monarch or any monarch for that matter could be effected without the approval of the state legislature.

More galling was the hurried way the state executive council carried out the illegality without giving the accused right to a fair hearing. While the governor and his government reserve the right to appoint and remove, it was primitive, barbaric and offensive for them to arrogate to themselves the power to banish him to a place of their choice in complete defiance of the constitution which they swore to defend.

Lord Acton had early in the turn of the last century warned against the spectre of the absolute corruption of power, in all logic what has happened in Kano is a case of Ganduje using his office to narrow the beauty of democracy and justice by feathering and embellishing dictatorship cloaked in the political cover provided by powerful forces beyond Kano. We condemn such abuse of power and disregard for the constitution.

It is gratifying that lawyers had spoken with one voice against the illegality and arbitrary use of state power to curtail the fundamental human rights of Citizen Sanusi. It was such affront to use the colonial law on traditional institutions to punish a man protected by the constitution.

The Secretary to the Kano State Government was quoted as saying that it is normal to dethrone and banish a monarch and that there is nothing special about what has happened to Sanusi. Even the Attorney General of the state laboured futilely to excuse the involvement of the government in the banishment. That nobody could stand to defend their action proved their foolishness and idiocy.

When the former Sultan of Sokoto, Dasuki was dethroned by a military governor during the Abacha military administration, every Nigerian knew it was achieved using a decree but this is a democracy and if such act is to be conducted there must be due process. Part of the process is for Emir Sanusi to be allowed to defend himself, while in the case he has committed an offence that requires removal, the state Assembly must give assent.

Also, there is established judicial precedence by the Appeal Court in the case of Mustaph Jokolo the former Emir of Gwandu when he was dethroned and banished also to Nasarawa state by then-governor Aliero of Kebbi state. In the suit, the court held that the governor lacked the power to banish a citizen of the country under the constitution.

This newspaper is on the side of the post-dethronement action taken by the deposed Kano emir, Muhammadu Sanusi, who filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order for his release from the post-dethronement detention and confinement and was freed by the court on Friday. It made a charade of the government’s action.

Premised on six grounds, the suit stated that, “Applicant’s fundamental right to life, human dignity, personal liberty and movement are seriously under challenge and continually being breached by the Respondents.”

This newspaper finds his banishment to Awe in Nasarawa state a total breach of his fundamental human rights. The involvement of the state apparatuses such as the Directorate of State Security and the Police in enforcing this illegality is a source of serious concern points to a lack of unity and control in government. There is a need to look into the extant law that established state institutions and the need to review them with a view to insulating them from abuse.

We commend the judiciary for rising again in defence of the individual and the constitution against executive recklessness. Sanusi is now free to enjoy his life as a citizen and to deploy his enormous capacity for the good of Nigeria.


It is a shame that many efforts were made by Northern intelligentsia and elders to settle the matter to no avail, including the committee headed by Abdulsalami Abubakar former Head of State.

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